Tag Archives: snow

The spring is arriving to Helsinki… eventually

The Finnish spring is tricky. One day you smell the first glimpse of spring in the air, the sun is shining and the snow melting… And the next day you wake up with a snow storm.

I guess this tricky weather has its influence on the Finnish mentality – it’s quite understandable to be a bit melancholic and suspicious when you live in a climate like this.

But there are positive aspects too. If you don’t suffer the darkness and coldness of the winter months, you neither learn how to appreciate the rare warmth and the sun. And the Finnish summer with its midnight sun is real magic, even if I say so myself.

Anyway, this is what I saw yesterday when I decided to leave from work (too) early and walk around Töölönlahti Bay – with tens of other people and hundreds of ducks.

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Töölönlahti Bay with its villas the first of March. Credit: me.

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View towards the centre of Helsinki - hard to imagine that at this point you're only 5 minutes walk away from the centre of our capital city!

And today it’s Friday! And the strangest thing is that I don’t have ANY “compalsory” plans for the weekend… So I’m open for everything.

Well actually, tonight we’re going to the concert of one my favourite Finnish bands, Pariisin kevät (The Spring of Paris). They just published their 3rd album, Kaikki on satua (Everything is a fairytale). The melodies are nice, lyrics are clever and they are amazing live! What else can you ask for…

Here is a song that’s a tribute to a neighborhood here in Helsinki called Pikku Huopalahti. It tells about peoples’ dreams, melancholy and the mediocre middle class life they live.

 

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Cold, colder… -40C?

Finland today - cold as the colour suggests.

As most of my friends’ Facebook statuses declare: It’s cold in Finland, like in most of Europe these days.

Here in Helsinki the temperature is not as “bad” as in the Northeastern parts of the country, but we have our fair share of chilliness. Today it was about -20C, which feels like -32C because of the wind – that’s cold! Foreigners ask how is it possible to survive in these temperatures? Well, you just have to dress up properly. For example, today I was wearing all these things – and I only got frozen in the nose and cheeks:

  • a warm set of long underwear & jeans
  • normal socks and woolen socks and extra warm winter shoes with lambswool inside
  • leather gloves with lambswool and a thick woolen scarf
  • a feather jacket with a big hood
  • a winter hat like this one. (Lots of Finns wear this model, so I guess they’re either in fashion or just efficient against the cold…

My beloved winter hat. For you I still have my brain functioning.

With this clothing I almost feel ok outside – for a short time. Only the face is a problem. This morning I saw a woman (not a Muslim one) in the street wearing a veil covering ALL her face. Maybe you stay warm, but you don’t see anything!

Anyway, people here don’t tend to be afraid of the cold. In schools, children have to go skiing and skating in sports class if it’s less than -15C. And I’ve never heard that you’d get free from school or work because of the cold weather. Wishful thinking…

Helsinki some days ago - so cold but so pretty. Photo: Inka Soveri / Iltalehti

Let’s see what happens in the days to come: they say it might get colder than -40C in the Northeastern Finland! Wow!!!

I’m almost always cold, so I’m not a good Finn. Anyway, they say that a human being is capable of getting used to extreme temperatures. The aboriginal people in Tierra del Fuego, South America, can sleep half-naked outside in freezing temperatures etc. Some characteristics help you to survive in the cold.

  • Having enough fat to keep you warm (many Finns have learnt this too well…)
  • Having shorter legs and hands – the more compact you are, better you reserve warmth
  • Being a woman – we survive better in extreme temperatures
  • And avoid being tired, on medication, too old, too thirsty or  – most importantly – too long time outside!
According to researches, many mammals follow these rules. Maybe it applies to us too=? At least many Finns are a bit round and have short legs. Purely for environmental reasons…?

Enjoying the cold. Me and my friends snow-shoeing at -20C in Eastern Finland.

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Let it snow – but not too much!

This morning, well it was almost midday, I went out to enjoy the wonderful sunlight and snow  we have also here in the centre of Helsinki (and there’s a lot!) Then I crashed into this quite scary snowman that someone had created on our home street – it even had green colour. Not for children…

Not all the snowmen are "nice"

Anyway, the morning was beautiful and it was Sunday, so not even a scary snowman could stop me. We went with my boyfriend to see a beautiful documentary film Vivan las antípodas! in DocPoint, a marvellous documentary film festival organised every January in Helsinki. I love documentaries, and this one was interesting – telling about the opposite geographical places and peoples’ lives there… In the end we are all the same everywhere, that was clear once more.

After the cinema we did the typical Sunday walk of Helsinki people: around Töölönlahti Bay. It’s a beautiful nature area practically in the centre of the city. In the summer the paths are full of runners and even today (with -5C and a chilly wind) some brave (or crazy?) people were running around. Brrr.

Töölönlahti Bay in January

Töölönlahti Bay in January

To warm up our deep-frozen toes went up to have a nice warm drink in Torni (a bar with aview upstairs of Tower hotel). Well it’s a super touristic venue, but not without a reason: the views over Helsinki are amazing, especially from the ladies’ bathroom, but unfortunately so are the prizes. (A hot chocolate with a touch of Baileys = 10 euros) But we got ourselves warm and could continue our adventure in the winter wonderland.

in January 2012

Helsinki view from Torni

Helsinki view from Torni 2

Now we’re off to see another documentary film – and it will be a complete surprise! Sometimes it’s nice to take a risk and go to see a movie without having ANY prejudices. So we’ll see…

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